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Council Urges Governor to Continue Support for Vote by Mail and Increased In-Person Voting for General Election
The Prince George’s County Council, during a virtual session on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, voted to authorize Council Chair Todd M. Turner’s signature on a Joint Letter with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. The correspondence expresses concern about the possibility of conducting solely an in-person 2020 Presidential General Election on November 3, 2020. The correspondence urges Governor Hogan to continue support for a “Hybrid” approach utilizing Vote-by-Mail election with increased in-person voting.
The Joint Letter, which references “untenable challenges” the Prince George’s County Board of Elections would face as a result of an in-person election, states in part, “One concern would be securing polling places to conduct the in-person election. Many owners of the private facilities that have historically served as polling places have withdrawn from participating in the upcoming election because they are not prepared to host an election during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter continues, “Another significant issue is recruiting and training viable Election Judges that are willing to manage the enormous task of working during a pandemic with a lack of resources and personnel.”
Council Chair Turner (D – District 4), says now is the time to address any challenges presented by voting by mail in the Primary Election, so the State is fully prepared to offer options whereby every eligible voter is able to exercise their rights without incident.
“COVID-19 has caused a number of unforeseen challenges for our communities, including safe and easily accessible voting options for this year’s election; however, the Council is committed to working with State officials and residents to remedy the situation in preparation for record numbers on November 3rd. The 2020 General Election comes at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, and it is imperative that every resident has an opportunity to exercise their right to vote, unencumbered.”
The Joint Letter suggests a Vote- by-Mail election, similar to the Primary Election, requiring every registered voter to be mailed a ballot to the address listed in the voter registration database. Additionally, the letter proposes more in-person vote centers, additional drop boxes and early voting options. The letter also suggests that vote centers would open from Thursday, October 29, 2020, through Election Day, November 3, 2020, for early voting, to accommodate voters who may not receive a mailed ballot and individuals with disabilities who would prefer to vote independently.